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Articles written by Lindsay Kramer

What To Do if Your Employer Wrongfully Terminated You

Even in an at-will employment state, workers have rights

Texas is an “at will employment” state, which means that in Texas, employers have the right to terminate employees for any reason they see fit with no warning. But there are restrictions to this right. There is an implied contract, employers cannot fire employees for illegal reasons, which are defined as any reasons that violate employees’ rights. Namely, if an employer violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or any of your rights related to forming or joining a labor union, …

Texas Marijuana Possession Laws Primer

Cannabis penalties depend on how much you have and why

Although decriminalization and legalization laws in some states have passed in recent years and are continuing to change, it is still illegal to possess, sell, grow, and use marijuana in Texas. “A client who is charged with possession of marijuana faces jail time, a conviction on their record, fines and the loss of their license to drive,” says Benson Varghese, a criminal defense attorney at Varghese Summersett in Fort Worth. Criminal Penalties for Possession The penalties depend on how …

Yes, Texas Police Can Take Your Possessions

How civil asset forfeiture works

Civil asset forfeiture refers to the right of law enforcement officers to take property from citizens if they suspect it is somehow connected to criminal activity. They may seize a weapon that was allegedly used in a robbery or a vehicle that might have been purchased with money earned through the sale of illegal drugs. Initially, it was developed to combat organized crime, but, today, civil asset forfeiture is used by many police departments as a way to generate revenue. When and How is Civil …

What To Know if You're Arrested for a DWI in Texas

The penalties and how to fight a conviction in Texas

If you’ve been arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), first of all, don’t panic. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be convicted. There are ways to fight a DWI charge, and yours might just be dismissed. Even if you gave a breath test or blood test that indicated you were over the limit, DWI attorney Deandra M. Grant says you may still be able to challenge the DWI conviction. “You can look at the warrant and that everything was done properly. We have a lot of issues with our …

Are Criminal Background Checks Discrimination?

They can be used for hiring decisions in Texas, but with discretion

As an employer, you want to know that you can trust the people you hire. For many employers, criminal background checks are a business necessity, even required, tool for gaining insight to applicants’ pasts, particularly those hiring for positions that involve working with children, the general public, or financial transactions. Although it is legal to use criminal background checks when making hiring decisions, employers must exercise discretion when viewing criminal convictions. Employment …

Are Noncompete Agreements Enforceable?

Texas companies have the right to protect their investment in workers (within reason)

In short, yes. Although noncompete agreements are not enforceable in all states and in the states where they are, there are Texas State laws limiting their enforceability, you may be asked to sign a noncompete agreement in Texas and if you violate or challenge the terms of the agreement, the court may uphold it. Noncompete agreements, also known as noncompetition agreements, are meant to protect a company’s legitimate business interest investment in its workers as well as its current position …

Employer Requirements Regarding Reasonable Accommodation

Individuals with disabilities have the right to accommodations in the workplace

Employers are required to comply with certain laws for employees’ protection. These include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA states that employees whose physical or mental disabilities inhibit their senses or movement be given accommodations in the workplace that make it possible for them to enjoy the same “benefits and privileges of employment” that their colleagues experience. Employers may not refuse …

Stop and Frisk in Texas: Is It Legal?

What are my constitutional rights if I’m stopped and questioned?

“Stop and frisk” refers to a controversial type of law, also known as a stop and identify law, that is in place in multiple states throughout the country. Under the law, police officers have the right to temporarily detain an individual and pat him or her down to determine if they are carrying a weapon. Legally, this may be done only if law enforcement has a reasonable suspicion that the individual is armed and can potentially pose a threat to others. “A lot of them in Texas involve the …

Does Law Enforcement Need a Warrant to Search Your Cellphone?

Warrant requirements and civil rights violations with mobile devices

If a police officer asks to look through your cellphone, you do not have to comply with this request unless the officer has a valid search warrant. You might face pressure from an officer and they might even lie in an attempt to obtain your consent to a search. No matter what the officer does, do not allow them to look through your phone if they don’t have a search warrant—even if there is nothing suspicious or incriminating on the phone. You have the right to privacy and that includes the …

If You Work Overtime, You Must Be Paid More Than Your Normal Wage

Overtime rules for employers in Texas

In the United States, we have federal overtime laws and state laws that protect hourly employees from exploitation by their employers. At the federal level, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines the legal minimum wage, number of hours an employee may work in a week or a day before he or she is required to receive overtime pay, and the laws for employing workers under the age of 18. Meanwhile, the Texas Payday Law governs all aspects of private sector employment. The standard workweek in …

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